New Orleans is a city all about celebrating the good times. Taking the good from the bad, and making it even better. Around town, one such band has done just that, producing a funkified feel-good sound that has been echoing around the city. Birthed from the womb of change and the city's undeniable charm, The Quickening has honed a chemistry rarely found in many groups that has been brewing through dedicated partnerships for years. Starting in 2012, Blake "Space" Quick, guitarist, singer and songwriter, decided to form a new band after having gone through a sweeping epiphany of his own. The result has been this ragtag bunch of lively musicians who have perfected their depth in harmony, instrumentation, and keeping that pocket groovy. After performing at the local T-Bois Fest along with having come out with their first full length album, Quick himself spoke to us at Where Ya't about what the journey's been all about and where The Quickening plans to go next.
WYAT: So when did The Quickening come together?
Quick:The Quickening came together in late 2012. After Mama Ray and I parted ways with the Flow Tribe, it was clear that we needed to gather a panel of talented friends and get cracking on putting our new material out there. I met Scott Sibley down here in high school at Brother Martin High School and always loved his drumming; Cody Ruth and I had a history class together in Hattiesburg, MS, and we would do super jams at the Boom Boom Room. He is a great player and listener, so he was the first choice of backing us up on bass.
WYAT: What is the current lineup?
Quick:We decided to keep a classic blues/jam lineup. Myself on guitar and vocals, Dave "Taken It" Easely on pedal steel and electric guitar, Cody "Winging It" Ruth on bass, Scott "Steamboat" Sibley on drums, Greg "Zoleman" Zola on keys, and Rachel "Mama Ray" Murray on vocals. Dave is the newest member of the band. He can channel music and sounds like nobody else I've ever played with. It's almost as if he reads the music out of thin air. He watches it and at any instance he knows exactly what's supposed be played and heard.
WYAT: Do you think your "feel-good" sound reflects the overall attitude of the group?
Quick: Absolutely! We have all known each other for years now, and the band has a way of making everything into a joke. For instance, on April Fool's Day one year, we were loading in a show at the Hi-Ho Lounge. I saw Rachel Murray's car at the entrance of the bar still running. So naturally I jumped in and took off down the street. I circled around the block to find her and the entire bar staff on the corner ready to pounce on the car as I drove by. It's my way of saying, "I love you," and, "Don't freak out!!!! Everything is going to be just fine."
WYAT: The dynamic between you and Mama Ray on stage truly draws in an audience…Can you explain or tell our readers a bit about your chemistry?
Quick:I call Rachel Murray my musical wife. We have such a strong love and deep connection with each other. We've known each other for over 5 years now. When she first came to New Orleans, she came and sang with me at Banks St. Bar and blew me out of the water. We kept up after that and did some traveling and festival going together. With music being a huge contributor to our friendship and our connection to the universe, we love to make noise whenever and wherever we are together! She has been by my side through the absolute roughest parts of my life, and she knows I'm there for her whenever she needs it. When it comes to singing together, she gives me the confidence to know where I should be singing by matching our vocals together. She always hits the right notes, and I just have to harmonize with her. It's such a beautiful thing.
WYAT: How was performing at T-Bois Fest?
Quick:It was a wild swamp party…literally! Everyone there was in such good spirits enjoying the food, music, and getting down in the swamp. We had a great time and were so happy to be apart of a great new local festival.
WYAT: I understand you just finished recording an album?
Quick:Yes! It's called My Name Ain't Skip, and it's a compilation of some live recordings that we did when the band first started, and the other half is a studio recording that we did ourselves on the Northshore. It's an ideal first chapter recording for The Quickening. It tells the story through the music of how we've grown within our first year of taking a swing at things... It's kind of like a timeline from when we started to where we are currently.
WYAT: What in your musical career has brought you to this point, both in playing and being a music enthusiast?
Quick:My dad, Keith Quick. He owns a production company down here called Event Producers, and since I was 10 I've been going out to shows and festivals at his side. He is solely the one who has instilled the love of music and live music in me. From burning Dr. John, Neville Brothers, and WAR into my brain at a young age, to bringing me to my first Voodoo Fest, he has introduced me to a lot of high rollers in the industry. He helps promote us every chance he gets. He loves to see me love my job!
WYAT: What inspires you to keep playing and what inspired you to form this band?
Quick:I guess it would be the mystery of "what could happen next." When I started this band, I wasn't sure what to do. I had a clean slate. Should I go off to Colorado and try to start a band? Should I move to a remote island somewhere and try a solo acoustic thing? The possibilities are endless. Knowing that I have roots here in New Orleans, I knew it was the ideal spot to plant another seed for musical creativity. We have been rapidly gaining momentum and a good foundation by playing shows and festivals in and around NOLA. Everything has been going precisely the way I saw it a year ago. It feels like we are moving in the right direction. Now, we need to keep riding that train, and "whatever happens next" is what's so exciting for me! I want to keep the momentum moving outside of the Southern region. Take it to the masses! Spread the good word of our music like butter across the nation. From across the nation to across the world. And from there, a Quickening show on the moon would be ideal! So yea, The Quickening show on the moon is what inspires me to continue this band!